Thursday, June 13, 2013

Food Allergies: Just a Regular Guy, Here

Guess what? I kind of have this little OCD issue. Okay, it’s not even OCD; that’s an exaggeration. It’s more of a little obsession I have when I write stuff. Point is, I need people to know who is writing. In my humble opinion, it helps everyone understand where all these ideas are coming from. Now, maybe I’m wrong to pin this on the fantastic group of people reading this post, but there is often a stereotype that kids with allergies are weak, uncoordinated and nerdy individuals. Well, dat ain’t me. Alright, so I’m not exactly the guy that’s going to sock a dude in the face because he talked to my lady. I’m also not the guy that is leading his high school sports team to the championship game while banging the lead cheerleader. I’m ALSO not the guy sitting in the back of the class not caring about what the teacher is saying because he is busy talking to his girlfriend. But I’m not the exact opposite of that either. For all intents and purposes, I’m just an ordinary guy. Who is not getting laid. There, I admit it.

Okay, so back up. What was that thing about allergies? Right, right. I have severe food allergies. It’s not something I talk about a lot, not because I’m ashamed or anything, but only because it’s another part of my life. I’m sure you guys don’t talk about what color your tooth brush is, how old your dentist is, or where you have fillings in your mouth--I’m banking on the idea that a lot of dental enthusiasts are going to read this blog. Allergies are just like that: another motion of existence. I've become accustomed to them naturally. It’s been 17 years now that I've been allergic to milk, eggs, fish, nuts, peanuts, sesame and watermelon seeds. Yeah, seriously, watermelon. That’s a big middle finger, isn’t it? Well, I wouldn’t know. I haven’t eaten watermelon since I was 22 months old--when I reacted to it. Same thing with milk products--when I reacted to a Cheez-It at a year old. I never got to eat the eggs or fish, but with my milk allergy they did the blood tests and they came back negative. Or, positive? Whatever, point is I get no omelets, salmon or cashews. And in case you were wondering: pizza, cereal and milk, chocolate, Doritos, and Taco Bell are some other things off limits.

After reading that, I’m sure you’re all dying to know how I function, and we will get there. First I need to establish what happens when I eat this food. Get ready for the perfect story. It’s when we discovered I could not eat sesame, which scared the innocence out of me. I’ll guess that I was 4 years old, eating at a restaurant one night. To make things more interesting, let’s say it was my birthday--even though it wasn’t. I was eating something with sesame when I told my mom I didn’t feel very good. She took me home and was rocking me on her shoulder--damn, I was four. Man the fuck up, Peter. Finally, I puked all over the floor. Mommy put me down to clean it up, and that’s when she sees all the hives. You know it’s getting really fun when it’s not even hives, but one giant welt composed of millions of hives huddling together. The sesame was apparently planning my demise, because once those bad boys get to my throat, it’s deadly. Anyways, my mom gave me the epi-pen, took me to the hospital, and all was well. Conflict averted. Worst birthday ever.

That, of course, is why I stayed away from new foods the rest of my early life. I don’t want to blame my parents, because they were just protecting me, but I honestly did not start trying new food items until middle school. And that amplifies the whole allergy thing by a billion, because not only has the Almighty stripped me some eating abilities, but now I was limiting myself to a tiny window of options. For those years, let’s say up until I was 15, I was eating a bagel with margarine (not butter) in the morning. Occasionally I would have plain Cheerios or something. For lunch, I was big on salami. I’d pretty much just eat it out of the pack. That and French Fries--no ketchup, but only cause my taste buds hate it. Dinner: broccoli every night. Every night, I swear. God bless mom for getting me to eat that, or else my bones would be like paper as I can’t get normal calcium intake from milk. I also ate steak, chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, and pasta. All of this plain, keep in mind. No gravy or sauce or anything. And you see, the options were out there, but we were staying away. I’d snack on pretzels and potato chips, and of course: water. I didn’t drink anything else. No juice or Gatorade or anything. 100% water. Don’t ask me why, you know the answer. And that, truth be told, was it. For 15 years, that was all I ate. But diet is only half of it, because food is everywhere, and we also had to take measures to physically keep me away from some things…


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